What it might mean for Seahawks that Geno Smith wants to repay them

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

With the 2022 season over for the Seahawks, Seattle will try to figure out who the quarterback will be in 2023. Geno Smith wants to return, though. Here’s the thing, however: Money has a way of changing everything on both sides.

Seattle currently has the eighth-most cap room in the NFL in 2023. That means the Seahawks have $31,540,071 to currently spend on free agents and draft picks. Seattle will probably create a bit more space by re-working some deals or releasing players like guard Gabe Jackson. But none of that money includes a quarterback and that’s an issue.

If Seattle does choose to try to re-sign Geno Smith, the question becomes how much to pay him. Smith hits free agency at a perfect time for him. He is coming off his first good year in the NFL ever and is still just 32 years old so has a bunch of years remaining. But if wants $30 million in 2023, which would be 7th in the league for next year, then Smith alone would eat up almost all of Seattle’s cap space.

Geno Smith says he wants to repay the Seahawks for embracing him

After the Seahawks’ loss to the 49ers in the Wild Card game, Smith said he wants to finish his career in Seattle.

"I want to finish my career in Seattle. I want to be here. The town, the city, the team, coach Carroll, the organization, they all embraced me. I was a guy who probably could have been out of the league. And they embraced me and I want to repay them for that."

But what does “repay” mean? Does that mean giving Seattle a proverbial hometown discount and playing for $20 million a season? It surely doesn’t mean taking whatever general manager John Schneider offers and ignoring offers from other teams. Smith is an NFL player and therefore human, so he has a right to get the most money he can because that money is going to equal generational wealth. NFL players play the game to make money and Smith should make all the money he can.

But the team also has to be sound in its financial decisions and the Seahawks have been good at that for the most part over the last decade. Some players 12s wanted the team to keep (and the team likely wanted to keep as well), such as Bobby Wagner, have to leave because they are too costly. Seattle is building a solid roster mostly through young players and the roster will likely get even younger after the 2023 draft.

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Keeping the well-respected Geno Smith around and having him in the locker room to help lead the young guys is great. It would be fantastic if Smith were still under contract in 2023. But he isn’t and the young roster needs a quarterback who will be with them for some time but also not be so expensive that his contract keeps the team from being able to sign players who can push Seattle from being a playoff contender to a Super Bowl contender.